Europa League Preview: Lokomotiv Moscow – FC Copenhagen

This Thursday’s Europa League clash between Lokomotiv Moscow and FC Copenhagen is of high importance. Lokomotiv are sitting a surprising third in the group after their shocking loss to Sheriff Tiraspol in their last Europa League fixture. Meanwhile, Copenhagen sit atop the group on goal difference, one point ahead of Lokomotiv. So far this season, Lokomotiv’s fine league form has yet to translate to their Europa League campaign. In the Premier League, Lokomotiv are in first place, three points … [Read more...]

Why it is Time for Krasnodar to Sack Igor Shalimov

This weekend saw FC Krasnodar lose 1-0 away against Lokomotiv Moscow. Losing away to Loko isn't a catastrophe, but it was the fifth defeat in a row for the Bulls. This is the worst ever losing streak in the club's young history, and serious questions can be asked to head coach, Igor Shalimov. Shalimov’s reign as head coach has been an inconsistent one. The highs of Shalimov’s tenure have certainly been high; this 94th-minute winning goal last season against Zenit St. Petersburg is a great … [Read more...]

What Have We Learned From the First Third of the RFPL Season?

The first third of the Russian Football Premier League season has been predictably unpredictable. Spartak Moscow, the reigning champions of the league, sit in a disappointing 8th place. Massimo Carrera’s men have struggled to hold leads and pick up points against lesser sides, and this wastefulness has showed in their league standing. Meanwhile in Kazan, Kuban Berdyev has not yet been able to work his magic like he did in Rostov, with Rubin’s defense looking surprisingly porous at times. … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Crvena Zvezda – FC Krasnodar

First Playoff Round, Second Leg: Fyodor Smolov's Return? Last week’s Europa league clash between Krasnodar and Crvena Zvezda was a thriller. Featuring five goals, one improperly disallowed and scoring chances aplenty, there was no shortage of excitement at the Krasnodar Stadium. Krasnodar comes into this game with a deserved 3-2 lead after they controlled most of the game at their home arena. Though Krasnodar does have this lead heading to Serbia, Crvena’s two away goals mean that they are in a … [Read more...]

New Stadia’s Impact on Attendances in the RFPL

Low attendances in the RFPL have been the subject of much debate and despair. People have put forth many different reasons for the poor league attendance, which has hovered around 11,000 per match for the last few years. In comparison, the Bundesliga averages 41,000 per match, and the English Premier League averages 35,000 per match. Some say that the quality of the league is too low, while others, including then-Sbornaya coach Leonid Slutsky, claim that Russia is simply not a footballing … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: FC Krasndar – Crzena Zvezda

First Playoff Round, First Leg: Bulls Bullish or Red Star Gleaming? Krasnodar enters this week’s Europa League match against Serbian side Crvena Zvezda in some spotty form. As of late, they have drawn against two potential relegation candidates in the RFPL. Between these disappointing draws came a last gasp victory over FC Akhmat, who is expected to challenge for European places this year. On top of their questionable form, injury concerns abound for Krasnodar, with some newcomers potentially … [Read more...]

Spartak Moscow – Lokomotiv Moscow Super Cup Preview

As usual, the Russian football season kicks off with the annual Super Cup game between the league champions and the cup winners. This season the game is between local rivals Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow, and it is set to be a hotly contested affair, while the intensity of the match on the pitch should be matched by the intensity in the stands. The newly renovated Lokomotiv Stadium is the venue for the match, and all officials involved are expecting a sellout crowd of around 27,000, which … [Read more...]

Fyodor Smolov – Russia’s Brightest Star

Fyodor Smolov’s rise to stardom has been anything but conventional. His unique resume includes multiple unsuccessful loan spells, as well as a season spent on the edge of Siberia, and yet today the striker stands as the back-to-back scoring champion of the Russian Football Premier League, and arguably Russia’s brightest star, something he also proved at the recently finished Confederations Cup. While he was always recognized as having vast potential, it took Smolov more time than most to fulfill … [Read more...]